DEHRADUN: Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers of Uttarakhand, who have not been paid their wages for months now, told the state government to pay their salary instead of showering petals over them.
In numerous cases, ASHA workers are the only earning members in a family making it difficult for them to survive and work further.
Most of the workers are yet to receive their remuneration since November last year. Shiba Dubey, state head of ASHA Swasthya Karyakati Union associated with the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), said, "Many ASHA workers in Uttarakhand are waiting to get their wages since November last year. Most of them belong to the lower middle class or middle-class families. We need money to look after our families."
Madan Kaushik, state cabinet minister and spokesperson of the government, commenting on the issue said, "We are looking into the matter seriously. This matter will be put forth into the cabinet agenda."
The state has more than 12,000 ASHA workers who Rs 2000 per month (divided equally between the Centre and state government) apart from incentives for different procedures such as deliveries of infants and ensuring the health of the babies and mothers.
ASHA workers, along with doctors and health workers, have been frontline foot soldiers in fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.
The ASHA workers carry out daily health screenings at houses in containment zones, finding out new suspected cases and keeping a tab on people who have been home-quarantined. Their roles and responsibilities have increased with the new arrival of migrants to the state.
The ASHA workers, who are tasked with door-to-door surveys in containment zones and other areas, ensure thermal scanning of all residents to check if there are new cases. They report to the health department officials if anyone displays symptoms similar to Covid-19 infection.
The workers also complained of not having any protective equipment.